Point Wilson marks the western side of the entrance to Admiralty Inlet from the Strait of Juan de Fuca and a lighthouse has existed here since 1879 – though not the one you will presently find. The critical turn was initially heralded by nothing more than a church bell.
Each year, Budget Travel asks its readers to nominate an American small town for the title Coolest Small Town. The choices are then whittled down to the top 10, and those are put to a vote. To our delight, Port Townsend, Washington, has made the 2012 short list for America’s Coolest Small Towns.
There are a few parameters. Each town must have a population under 10,000. It must be “on the upswing,” thanks to a vibrant arts scene, good restaurants, or its proximity to nature. The town must also eschew quaint and embrace edginess.
Given theses parameters, Port Townsend should be a shoe-in.
- It’s hip, with edgy artists and a sizable number of residents who live there precisely because it isn’t like every where else.
- It has astoundingly strong arts and culture for a town of its size, with an impressive list of festivals such as the Film Festival and the Wooden Boat Festival.
- It has Centrum: Centrum is responsible for the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, a Chamber Music Festival, a Jazz Festival, a Blues Festival, and a host of other artistic programs.
- It has many good restaurants. Grab a hot dog at the seasonal stand or dine at Fins Coastal Cuisine, which has been favorably reviewed in the New York Times Travel Section. Enjoy a drink in the cozy Mezzanine of the Silverwater Cafe or hang with the locals at Sirens Pub. Have a leisurely breakfast Uptown at Sweet Laurette’s, or grab a tasty treat to go at Pane d’Amore Bakery.
- It’s home to the Port Townsend Farmers Market, one of the largest small town markets in the nation.
- It’s home to Fort Worden.
Port Townsend can go neck and neck with just about any town in the country for natural beauty. It sits on the tip of the Quimper Peninsula, which is located on the Olympic Peninsula. Two volcanic peaks stand in the east, Mount Baker to the north and Mount Rainier to the south. The Cascade Mountain Range rises in the distance behind the white cliffs of Whidbey Island to the east, and the snow-capped Olympic Mountains lie to the west. It impossible to remain indifferent to the view. And opportunities for outdoor recreation are abundant.
If you’ve been to Port Townsend, you’ve probably already cast your vote. If you haven’t been there, or if it’s been a while, go take a look. Have a glass of Washington State Wine or Cider made on the Olympic Peninsula. Stay in a Bed and Breakfast or Boutique Hotel. Then cast your vote for Port Townsend as America’s Coolest Small Town. Votes accepted through January 31, 2012.
Mark your calendars, for the Northwest Wine and Cheese Tour will be at the Washington State Wineries of the Olympic Peninsula on April 17 and 18, 2010. We’ll pair handcrafted local wines with locally made artisan cheeses, and the results will be out of this world.
Six Washington State Wineries located in Port Townsend and Port Angeles will participate in the NW Wine and Cheese Tour. Our wineries will be open from 11 am to 6 pm both Saturday and Sunday. This allows ample time for you to leisurely visit all the wineries and sample a good selection of Washington State wines and cheese.
Cheesemakers from Mt. Townsend Creamery of Port Townsend and Mystery Bay Farm of Marrowstone Island will be at Olympic Cellars Winery, on Saturday. Sample these cheeses with the peninsula’s own Pane D’Amore bread and a selection of Olympic Cellars wines. Suzanne Tyler will present cheeses from Wild Harvest Creamery at Sorensen Cellars in Port Townsend.
Keep an eye out and a fork ready for amazing cheeses from Mount Townsend Creamery in Port Townsend, Golden Glen Creamery in Bow, and Montesano Estrella and Beechers in Seattle. We look forward to seeing which cheeses will be paired with the fantastic fruit wines of Black Diamond Winery. And we always love to see what is being poured in the lovely tasting rooms at Harbinger Winery and Camaraderie Cellars of Port Angeles. In Port Townsend, look for excellent cheese and wine parings at FairWinds Winery.
An added perk to any wine tasting event on the Olympic Peninsula is the Rain Shadow that protects most of this area from the rains that often fall in spring. We can’t absolutely guarantee sunshine, but you are more likely to find sunshine between Port Townsend and Port Angeles than anywhere else in Western Washington. Now that is worth toasting!
Is it indulgent to spend a weekend (or two) traveling between Olympic Peninsula Wineries, drinking red wine and eating chocolate? Or is it good sense? It’s no secret that moderate consumption of red wine is good for your health – it is believed to lower the risk of heart disease. Well, it has come to light that the same is true for dark chocolate.
Antioxidants, flavonoids, resveratrol? Let the doctors and scientists study the nitty gritty of why red wine and dark chocolate can help our hearts. We’ll just do as the French have always done – consume them and smile.
Six Washington State Wineries on the Olympic Peninsula are pulling out their best red wines and pairing them with fine chocolates during the weekends of February 5-6 and 13 – 15, 2010. You may purchase tickets to these festive events and taste at all six wineries for a mere $25 (includes a souvenir wine glass), or taste at individual wineries for $5 each.
There is a red wine for every palate at Harbinger Winery in Port Angeles, and a variety of chocolates to match them. Fruit wines, hearty reds and crisp blushes are all here.
Camaraderie in Port Angeles will pair their 2006 gold medal winning merlot with merlot chocolate dipping sauce, Molly Baby chocolate cookies and Princess Valiant chocolates. They’ll pull out other reds as well: cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and blends.
Head to the Black Diamond Winery, in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains near Port Angeles, for tasty Raspberry and Strawberry wines. Be sure to savor the chocolate truffles between sips.
Those of you who enjoy a little spice in your life may want to head straight to Olympic Cellars, on highway 101 between Sequim and Port Angeles. CBC chocolatier Peter Crabtree has created spice-embedded chocolates to enhance the reds at Olympic Cellars. Your taste buds will tingle.
FairWinds Winery in Port Townsend will be pairing their award-winning Port O’Call with rich chocolate flowing from “the tallest known chocolate fountain in captivity”. Also in Port Townsend, Sorensen Cellars pairs reds with assorted chocolates and truffles made by Sequim chocolatier Yvonne. Be sure to try the two new releases: a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Malbec.
You can consider it romantic or fun to head out for a weekend of tasting chocolates and wines from Washington State. Or you can consider it an integral part of your health care. How you spin it is up to you. No matter what, we feel certain you will enjoy it.
With the holidays just around the corner, now is a good time to start considering which wines you will serve with Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. And the Olympic Peninsula Wineries’ Passport Wine Tour offers a variety of food (and wine) for thought! Visit the wineries on November 14-15 from
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.and sample new and current release wines superbly paired with fresh Olympic Coastal Cuisine. Some of the wineries will feature special limited bottlings for the holidays.
In Port Townsend, FairWinds Winery’s off-dry Gewurztraminer will be paired with an array of cheeses made by Port Townsend’s Mt. Townsend Creamery. Appetizers made with red potatoes grown on FairWinds Farm served with various toppings will be complemented by the winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend.
Sorensen Cellars will feature its 2008 Pinot Gris, 2007 Viognier, 2007 Sangiovese, 2006 Cabernet Franc, and 2005 Syrah. The wines will be paired with locally sourced appetizers.
Get away for a weekend and enjoy autumn on the Olympic Peninsula!